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Doing business on the Internet without a firewall is a lot like parking your car with the windows rolled down and the key in the ignition. It’s safe to say; it’s a bad idea. A firewall’s job is to inspect data that flows through your computers, systems and networks and acts as a barrier that shields your company from malicious intent such as a malware attack. It’s like a police officer directing traffic at an intersection.

A firewall inspects the data flow to check whether it meets the rules set out by the firewall’s policy. It guides traffic throughout the company by either accepting or rejecting the traffic. Unfortunately, some firewalls have blind spots and hackers know exactly where they are. This blog will help you to identify the critical capabilities and features of a firewall that identifies and thwarts system attacks.

Are you gambling with the safety of your small business?

According to the Verizon 2016 Data Breach Investigation Report, hackers can take days, sometimes only minutes to compromise your system. Financial gain is the highest motivator at 80%. This could be catastrophic for small businesses, and they need to take note. According to BizTech, cybercriminals like targeting smaller businesses because they are more “likely to have fewer resources to devote to cybersecurity and less staff to monitor potential threats to critical IT systems”. Some businesses feel that they have the basics of cybersecurity covered, but they’re relying on outdated technology to safeguard their entire IT infrastructure.  

Sophos focuses on adding layered protection to your network

Security companies generally have not deployed a holistic approach to all the cyberthreats businesses face. Instead, they have focused on developing individual products designed to address individual points in the attack chain. It’s like placing guards inside the building and outside and not letting them talk to each other. With this approach, hackers can exploit the fact that these layers of security do not coordinate. This means that if the firewall is breached, the end-point isn’t notified, and if the endpoint is compromised, the firewall will be unaware. Sophos was the first IT security provider to have introduced a synchronised approach to their firewall systems. Vital information and defensive strategy are coordinated between the Sophos endpoint and firewall through an advanced security heartbeat.

According to their CEO Kris Hagerman, “Only Sophos links leading network security technology with leading endpoint security technology together in a coordinated and integrated approach. This is synchronised security that delivers both better protection – and better manageability – for organisations of any size.”

When a new endpoint is added (such as opening a new tab through your browser), the security heartbeat immediately adds it to the firewall. It establishes a channel to consistently share information and to better track the health of individual endpoints. When malware is detected on a single endpoint, the firewall will stop it from communicating inside or outside the network. If that endpoint attempts to connect to nefarious commanding control centres, the Sophos firewall will block that traffic and alert the administrator.

Don’t rely solely on your firewall (always have a backup)

A firewall acts as a barrier to protect your organisation, but if a breach does take place, the firewall can no longer do its job. You need an aggressive anti-virus program to work in conjunction with your firewall. The anti-virus program will scan, detect and remove malicious information that managed to get through.The Sophos XG firewall makes use of a second independent malware detection engine (Avira) for dual-scanning. 

A lot of people don’t know what a firewall is let alone what it’s doing for them. Sophos provides great insights. On the firewall’s Control Center you can focus on what needs your attention. The centre gives you access to rich information and tools to immediately identify compromised systems, advanced threats and risky users before they become a problem. And you get the ultimate view of your system’s performance and network usage.